As You Like It

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Rosalind Character Analysis

Duke Senior’s daughter, Rosalind is the voice of reason and wisdom, and the heroine of the play. When Duke Frederick finally forces her to abandon the court as he did her father, she and Celia go looking for Duke Senior, Rosalind dressed as Ganymede. Rosalind is clever and cunning, and in the end of the play, she acts as a prudent judge of love, articulating the characters’ romantic associations, and arranging them in sensible marriages, including the joining of herself and Orlando. She is not altogether above becoming passionate and a bit ridiculous regarding her love for Orlando, however.

Rosalind Quotes in As You Like It

The As You Like It quotes below are all either spoken by Rosalind or refer to Rosalind. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of As You Like It published in 2009.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue? I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.

Related Characters: Orlando (speaker), Rosalind
Page Number: 1.2.258-259
Explanation and Analysis:
After winning the wrestling match, Orlando admits his true identity to Rosalind and Celia. Rosalind tells him that if she knew who he was she would have stopped him from fighting, and she then gives him a chain as a congratulatory gift and symbol of her respect for his father and his victory. Orlando is immediately smitten. He says this line after Rosalind and Celia exit. Orlando, who earlier stood up to his brother with keen articulation is, for the first time, at a loss for words. This is the first time of many where his love for Rosalind will make him speak foolishly. 
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Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

Come, come, wrestle with thy affections.

Related Characters: Celia (speaker), Rosalind
Page Number: 1.3.21
Explanation and Analysis:
In a moment alone, Rosalind tells Celia that she is now overwhelmed with fear for both her father and her "Child's father", suggesting that she has two men on her mind: her banished father Duke Senior, and Orlando. Here, Celia tries to comfort Rosalind, telling her to control her emotions. The use of "wrestle" is playful, as Celia is referring to both Rosalind's internal struggle as well as the flirtation that transpired between Rosalind and Orlando after Orlando's wrestling match. Just as Orlando physically wrestled with Charles, so Rosalind must now wrestle with her own feelings for him. Even though they are cousins, Celia is a constant source of support and sisterly love for Rosalind. This is a tender moment leading up to the conflict that will occur between Rosalind and Celia's father. 

Let’s away and get our jewels and our wealth together, devise the fittest time and safest way to hide us from pursuit that will be made after my flight. Now we go in content to liberty, and not to banishment.

Related Characters: Celia (speaker), Rosalind
Page Number: 1.3.140-145
Explanation and Analysis:

The Duke storms in and interrupts Celia and Rosalind's conversation, telling Rosalind that she is officially banished from the court. The two cousins are inseparable, however, and Celia refuses to remain in the court without Rosalind. They decide that they will flee to the forest of Arden, Rosalind disguised as a man and Celia disguised as a shepherd girl. Here, Celia tells Rosalind that they will not let themselves be "banished," but rather are leaving the city willfully in pursuit of freedom. Celia's loyalty to Rosalind supersedes her love and loyalty to her father and her inheritance. She would rather live a poor, happy life in the forest than a lavish life alone in court. Like in many Shakespeare plays, the city here becomes a symbol of oppressive social structures and edicts and the forrest and nature is a place of freedom and fluidity. 

Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

Run, run, Orlando, carve on every tree the fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she.

Related Characters: Orlando (speaker), Rosalind
Related Symbols: Orlando’s Poems
Page Number: 3.2.9-10
Explanation and Analysis:
In a moment alone, Orlando soliloquizes about his love for Rosalind. He reads a poem that he has written comparing her to the Queen Of The Night, Diana, and shares his plan to post all of his love poems on the trees of the Forest of Arden. As predicted, love has turned him into the fool. He is mad with it. His poem is extremely romantic, calling the trees his "books" where he can share his undying love for Rosalind with the entire forest. His desire to post his love poems on every tree indicates the vast expanse and extent of Orlando's love for Rosalind, also shows that he feels that especially foolish desire, often associated with lovers, to make his feelings as public as possible.

Then there is no true lover in the forest, else sighing every minute and groaning every hour would detect the lazy foot of Time as well as a clock.

Related Characters: Rosalind (speaker)
Related Symbols: Ganymede
Page Number: 3.2.307-310
Explanation and Analysis:
Orlando comes upon Rosalind and Celia in the forest—but they are dressed as Ganymede and a poor woman, so he does not recognize them. Rosalind decides to tease Orlando a bit to see how he acts, and to test the supposed strength of his love. She asks him the time and he says that he doesn't know. She then taunts him saying that he must not be a true lover, because a true lover sighs every minute and groans every hour, just as regularly as a clock ticks. By toying with Orlando and maintaining her disguise, Rosalind shows the audience that she has some control over her own love for Orlando. Orlando is also more casual and open with Rosalind in this moment because he see her as a fellow man, talking openly and freely about love. In many ways both find freedom in the role of Rosalind-as-Ganymede, as for the moment neither act like tongue-tied, foolish lovers.

Love is merely a madness, and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too. Yet I profess curing it by counsel.

Related Characters: Rosalind (speaker), Orlando
Related Symbols: Ganymede
Page Number: 3.2.407-412
Explanation and Analysis:

"Ganymede" and Orlando continue to discuss life and love. Yet Unbeknownst to Orlando, the young boy he is speaking to is actually his one true love Rosalind. She then taunts him, telling him that she would like to give some advice to the young man who keeps carving love notes on trees. Orlando reveals that he is the one doing so. She tests him, asking him if he truly loves Rosalind as much as he says he does. He replies by telling her that "neither rhyme nor reason" can express his love. She retorts with this quote, in which she claims that love is a disease that needs to be cured. (In Shakespeare's time, mental illness was often "treated" by locking the patient in a dark room or beating them—and here Rosalind suggests the same "cure" for lovers.) She then offers to assist Orlando in curing his love sickness by pretending to be the woman he loves and coaching him on how to manage his feelings for her. 

Rosalind finds freedom in her disguise, playing with Orlando and testing his love for her by calling his poetry a sign of madness. This also begins the relationship of Rosalind (Ganymede) as teacher and Orlando as student. She aims to teach Orlando to be a suitable lover for her while also spending time with him without the foolishness that love incites in both of them. 

Act 3, Scene 5 Quotes

Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might, “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?”

Related Characters: Phebe (speaker), Rosalind, Silvius
Related Symbols: Ganymede
Page Number: 3.5.86-87
Explanation and Analysis:

After her tiff with Silvius, Phebe meets Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede). Ganymede tells her that she isn't pretty enough to behave the way she is behaving. It is this cruelty and criticism that causes Phebe to in love with Ganymede at first sight, not knowing that she is truly a woman.  

After Rosalind leaves, in a moment of great irony, Phebe turns to Silvius and says this line. Phebe, who was critical of love language just moments before, has fallen into the pit immediately, claiming that true love is love at first sight. Furthermore, when faced with love, Phebe's entire language shifts. She is no longer logical or pragmatic but is rather hopelessly and foolishly in love, finding Ganymede's scorn attractive, even romantic. 

Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

Nay, you were better speak first, and when you were graveled for lack of matter, you might take occasion to kiss. Very good orators, when they are out, they will spit; and for lovers, lacking – God warn us! – matter, the cleanliest shift is to kiss.

Related Characters: Rosalind (speaker), Orlando
Related Symbols: Ganymede
Page Number: 4.1.77-82
Explanation and Analysis:

Orlando arrives late for his first lesson on love from Ganymede. Rosalind (as Ganymede) scolds him for missing their meeting that morning, and makes Orlando apologize to her as if she is Rosalind. She then asks him what he would do in this moment if she were Rosalind. Orlando tells her that he'd kiss her. Rosalind replies with this line, telling Orlando that lovers must always speak first and then only kiss when they run out of things to say. Once again, Rosalind finds great satisfaction in educating orlando under the guise of Ganymede. She finds freedom in her disguise and is able to speak to him in a way that she wouldn't be able to as a woman. This moment also reveals how hasty and dumbfounded Orlando is by his love for Rosalind. He immediately resorts to kissing as opposed to thinking and speaking. 

Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

Your brother and my sister no sooner met but they looked; no sooner looked but they loved; no sooner loved but they sighed; no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason; no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage.

Related Characters: Rosalind (speaker), Orlando, Oliver, Celia
Page Number: 5.2.33-39
Explanation and Analysis:

Oliver has fallen in love with Aliena (Celia). He asks his brother Orlando for consent, and, thinking he is going to marry a shepherdess- as opposed to a noblewoman- he decides to give his fortune to Orlando. As he exits, Rosalind enters and talks with Orlando about the unusual romance that has sparked between Aliena and Oliver. Here she reflects (both poetically and humorously) on the immediacy of their love as well as how deep it seems to be. 

Similar to Phebe, Oliver has been wooed at first sight and throws away all pragmatism to be with the woman he loves. The man who once valued wealth and esteem in the court more than his own brother is now giving away his entire fortune to be with a shepherdess. This indicates how much romantic love changes the entire world view of an individual, especially in the exaggerated action of the comedy.

[To Orlando] As you love Rosalind, meet. [To Silvius] As you love Phebe, meet. And as I love no woman, I’ll meet. So fare you well.

Related Characters: Rosalind (speaker), Orlando, Silvius, Phebe
Related Symbols: Ganymede
Page Number: 5.3.124-126
Explanation and Analysis:

All of the lovers unite in one scene. Phebe tells Rosalind (as Ganymede) that she is furious that "he" shared her letter. Silvius still pines for Phebe. Oliver loves Aliena (Celia) and Orlando is downtrodden at his inability to find Rosalind.

Rosalind quiets the group by explaining that the next day all will be answered (as she plans to reveal herself). She tells each of the lovers that they will meet the one they love as they really are. Once again Rosalind is the authority, the teacher of all things regarding love. Although the group doesn't understand how, they trust that she will bring all of their problems to a resolution. Yet it is important to note that she also maintains her leadership position because she is still thought to be a man. Her disguise has given her the freedom of manhood, the ability to lead. 

This moment also depicts the true chaos caused by Rosalind's disguise. Love has driven all the characters mad, and Rosalind knows that she cannot wait any longer to reveal herself. 

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Rosalind Character Timeline in As You Like It

The timeline below shows where the character Rosalind appears in As You Like It. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
...brother, Duke Senior, whom several lords have since willingly joined in exile. He adds that Rosalind, the banished duke’s daughter, has remained in court with her beloved cousin Celia (Duke Frederick's... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Celia coaxes Rosalind to be “merry.” Rosalind asks how she is supposed to feel merry given that her... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Rosalind, with renewed gratitude and merriment, goes on to ask Celia what she thinks of falling... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Monsieur Le Beau, who is one of Duke Frederick's courtiers, enters, and Celia, Rosalind, and Touchstone continue jesting with him in the same vein. Le Beau tells of three... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
...confirms that he should not fight on account of his youth, and encourages Celia and Rosalind to try to dissuade him. The sisters call Orlando over and try to convince him... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Having learned the identity of Orlando’s father, Rosalind declares that she would have been all the more insistent that he not fight: her... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Celia begs Rosalind to break her silence. She jests, “Cupid have mercy, not a word?” Rosalind explains that... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Duke Frederick enters and orders Rosalind to leave the court. He threatens her with death if she does not comply. Shocked,... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Celia declares that if Rosalind is banished, she will go with her, maintaining her refusal to leave Rosalind’s side. When... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Rosalind agrees, but says that she’ll disguise herself instead like a man, given her height, and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
The scene opens with Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede) rejoicing in her merry spirits and Touchstone complaining of tired legs. Rosalind... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
Rosalind and Touchstone are touched by Silvius’s speech, which they have overheard. Touchstone fondly remembers his... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
On Celia’s request, Rosalind approaches Corin and asks if he has any food for Celia, who’s become faint with... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
...as a pale sphere in the sky, and includes a resolve to post poems about Rosalind on every tree in the forest. Having finished reading the poem in his hand, Orlando... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind, dressed as Ganymede, enters, reading one of Orlando’s poems that she has pulled from a... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Celia enters, reading another of Orlando’s tree poems, which describes Rosalind as the synthesis of all the best features of Helen, Cleopatra, Atalanta, and Lucretia. At... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Celia recounts having found Orlando under a tree, dressed like a hunter. Rosalind comments that Orlando is dressed that way because he has come to kill her heart.... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
Orlando and Jaques enter, bickering. Jaques insults Rosalind’s name, and tells Orlando that being in love is the worst fault. He says that... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind (still disguised as Ganymede) approaches Orlando and asks what time it is. When he answers... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Orlando doubts that Rosalind, who he takes for a country shepherd, could have acquired her manner of speaking in... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind mentions the poems on the trees and expresses her desire to meet and advise the... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Orlando agrees to try her method, which begins with calling her by the name Rosalind. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
Rosalind confides to Celia that she feels like weeping. She is upset that Orlando did not... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Rosalind then tells Celia of having met with Duke Senior the day before and of him... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Corin then enters and invites Celia and Rosalind to come witness the "pageant" of Silvius, whose helpless love Rosalind had been so touched... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
...begs his mistress, Phebe, not to scorn him and compares her to a hardhearted executioner. Rosalind and Celia enter, in their disguises as Ganymede and Aliena, along with Corin, just as... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
Rosalind (as Ganymede) steps forward and interjects with an extended insult directed at Phebe: she accuses... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
After Rosalind and Celia leave, Phebe decides to keep Silvius around so she can talk to him... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
Jaques approaches "Ganymede," wanting to get better acquainted. Rosalind calls Jaques a “melancholy fellow,” and Jaques accepts the characterization, but specifies that his kind... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Orlando enters and Rosalind (dressed as Ganymede) scolds him for missing their meeting that morning, claiming that she’d rather... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind teases Orlando that she will not accept him as a lover and he dramatically replies... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Next, Rosalind (as Ganymede) tries to make herself (Rosalind) seem unappealing by promising Orlando that she will... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
Celia criticizes Rosalind for portraying women so badly. Rosalind responds by gushing to Celia how much she’s in... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind (still disguised as Ganymede) is impatiently awaiting Orlando, who is now late. Celia suggests that... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Silvius approaches and gives a letter to Rosalind, which, he reports, Phebe wrote with an angry look on her face—a “stern brow.” Rosalind... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind then reads the letter aloud, interjecting “Did you ever hear such railing?” The content of... (full context)
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
...are the owners of the cottage. When they confirm that they do, Oliver gives to Rosalind a bloody napkin, which was sent to her by Orlando. Rosalind is confused, and Oliver... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind enters just as Oliver departs, and discusses with Orlando the sudden love between her cousin... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind responds that that she is skilled in the art of magic and promises that, if... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind resolves the scene by telling everyone what will happen the next day: Orlando, Silvius, and... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...promise, Orlando says that he sometimes believes and sometimes doubts that it will come true. Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede) enters along with Silvius and Phebe and makes sure that everyone is... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
When Rosalind (as Ganymede) and Celia leave, the Duke remarks that Ganymede reminded him of his daughter,... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Hymen, the god of marriage, enters, with Celia and Rosalind at his side, dressed now as themselves. Rosalind presents herself to Duke Senior and to... (full context)
Epilogue
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Rosalind begins the Epilogue by acknowledging that it is unusual in a play for a woman... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Deeming that her task is to “conjure” the audience, Rosalind tells the women to like as much of the play as pleases them based on... (full context)